France are sitting top of the Six Nations table after a bonus point win against Italy in the second round of the Six Nations, despite a lacklustre second half. France started strongly with tries from Teddy Thomas and Charles Ollivon before Italy’s Matteo Minozzi scored. A Tommaso Allan penalty cut France’s lead to three, but Gregory Alldritt went over just before the break to put France comfortably up at half time. Romain Ntamack’s second half try sealed the bonus point for France before Federico Zani got a try back for Italy and France’s Baptiste Serin finished off proceedings with a great solo effort. Late in the game Mattia Bellini added a consolation score for Italy, but France held on for a 2nd consecutive Six Nations victory which sees them move to the top of the table ahead of Ireland, on points difference. France were quick off the block… France have not won the Six Nations tournament since 2010, but their resurgence under new coach Fabien Galthie (with a little help from Defensive coach Shaun Edwards), began with victory over England on the opening weekend. The match looked as if it was going to be a more dominant win against Italy at the Stade de France, as the hosts won a penalty in the third minute because of a high tackle and Ntamack claimed the three points. Shortly after, wing Thomas chased after an Ntamack grubber kick and managed to get there before any Italian defenders, tapping the ball down for Les Bleus’ first try. But French fly-half Ntamack missed the conversion and a subsequent penalty as Storm Ciara made her presence known with a swirling wind in Paris. Scrum-half Antoine Dupont, so pivotal in the win against England, continued to stake an early claim on the Player of the Championship award as the 23-year-old broke through the Italian defence and captain Ollivon went over from close range. The tide briefly turned as Thomas came too far out of the French defensive line, leaving plenty of space for Italy wing Minozzi to score in the left corner. Allan landed the conversion from the touchline, then added a penalty to cut France’s lead to just three. But Italy prop Giosue Zilocchi was caught off his feet, gifting Les Bleus a penalty in front of the posts, and Ntamack took the chance to extend his side’s advantage. After more Italian indiscipline, France opted to kick to the corner and it proved to be the correct decision, with Dupont sending a long pass left to Alldritt, who had plenty of room to score. French inconsistencies begin to show after the break… After a slower start to the second half, it was Italy who had the first chance to get off the mark but Allan’s penalty kick went wide. Then Ntamack breathed new life into the game, taking Thomas’ pass and scything through defenders to score the bonus-point try for France. With victory seemingly sealed, the hosts appeared to lose concentration and Italy took advantage of their lack of focus as Zani went over from close range. Replacement scrum-half Serin showed another glimpse of what France are capable of as he took a quick penalty, side-stepped a tackle and gathered his own kick to score. Les Bleus’ defence looked to have improved under new coach Shaun Edwards last weekend, but inconsistencies began to show against Italy, giving the Azzurri one last chance to score through Bellini before full-time. Six Nations Table after weekend 2: Next up for France, who are equal with Ireland on points but top of the table by points difference, is last years Grand Slam Champions, Wales, at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff on 22 February, while Italy host Scotland in Rome on the same day.
Copy and paste this URL into your WordPress site to embed
Copy and paste this code into your site to embed